Tourist’s guide to Railay – a picturesque area in Krabi and all you need to know

Railay Beach Krabi in Thailand is a popular resort famous for its huge cliffs, stunning caves and clear sea depths. Tourists love it not only for its natural beauty, but also for a certain distance from civilization, allowing you to fully enjoy the local spirit.

Railay Beach Krabi in Thailand

General information

Railay Beach is a small, picturesque peninsula located on the coast of the Andaman Sea in the province of Krabi. Being one of the most visited beach resorts in Thailand, it annually receives hundreds of tourists from all over the world. And although most of them go to Railay for just one day, there are those who linger here for a long time. They were lucky most of all, because in the absence of people you can safely walk under the moonlight and enjoy the sunrise.

High mountains on Railay Beach

The main uniqueness of this peninsula lies in the fact that it is cut off from Thailand by impenetrable jungle, high mountains and vast expanses of water. Getting here by land is almost impossible, but even more interesting. Railay Beach has no huge markets and supermarkets, but the basic infrastructure is fully present. There are several travel agencies, cafes, restaurants, massage rooms, hotels, etc. The latter are not so many, so the rooms are sorted out very quickly.

Dinner at a cafe on Railay Beach

Street food prices are higher than in Ao Nang, Krabi or other cities in Thailand, so eat better at the hotel in which you have a room reservation. If you choose housing without food, use one of three options:

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  • Restaurants at the hotels;
  • Night bars located in the eastern part of Railay;
  • Pedestrian street extending in the western part of the peninsula.

Traditional Thai dishes, drinks and fruits can be enjoyed in the so-called mashinashki, snack bars on wheels. It will be more expensive than buying the same products on the mainland, but cheaper than in cafes or local restaurants. Getting around the resort is easiest on foot. Long-tailed boats provide a connection between the beaches (price – 50 THB, the minimum number of passengers – 4 people), but it is not necessary to wait for them, because the distances between the main recreation areas are small.

How to get there

Longtail ride

It is most convenient to get to the Railay Peninsula in the province of Krabi by longtail boats “longtail”. They are sent from several points:

  • Ao Nang Beach – the pier is located right in the center, the ticket price is 100 THB (baht) one way, the journey takes 10 to 15 minutes, it goes to East Railay. Schedule – from 8 am to 6 pm. If you are going back the same day, buy 2 tickets at once;
  • Nopparat Tara Beach – the pier is located in the southern part, the cost of a one-way trip is 100 THB;
  • Krabi Town – the fare will cost 80 THB, the final stop is East Railay;
  • Village and beach Ao Nam Mao – ticket price is 80 THB, arrives at East Railay;
  • Phuket – for a trip on a fast boat you will have to lay out at least 700 THB, the boat should go to West Railay.

Important! Ticket price depends on the time of day. So, after sunset, it can grow by 50-55 THB.

Despite the short distances, the trip to the peninsula can be very long. The reason for this delay may be an insufficient number of passengers (less than 8 people). In order not to waste time waiting, use one of the 2 life hacks: pay for free seats yourself or divide the missing amount by all travelers.

Low tide on Railay

And one more nuance! During low tides, longtail can not land directly to the shore – a low water level prevents them from doing this. Be prepared for the fact that at certain times you will have to soak your feet a little. True, Railay came up with an original solution to this problem – a special platform drives into the water, which delivers passengers to land.


There are several beaches on Railay Beach in Thailand. Let’s consider each of them.

Railay West or West Railay

Railay West, surrounded by beautiful sheer cliffs and lush vegetation, is a favorite destination for beach patrons. In addition, there are the most expensive hotels on the peninsula, whose restaurants overlook the seashore.

Railay West or West Railay

The sand on West Railay is fine, powdery, very pleasant to the touch. If you add a shallow depth, warm clear water and infrequent ebbs, you can get ideal conditions for a family vacation. The coastline is about 600 m long. The beach is quite wide and literally dotted with deciduous trees. True, they do not save from scorching sunlight – the shadow along the beach holds only until noon. The rest of the time, there’s simply nowhere to hide. Sunset at sea is smooth, the right side of the coast is deeper than the left.

Kayak and Scuba Gear Offices
Shops at Railay West

The beach is well populated. In addition to comfortable hotels, there are several shops, decent cafes, souvenir shops and bars of various price categories. Kayak and scuba gear rental offices are located in the center of the bay in the Walking Street area. Shower, umbrellas, sunbeds and other elements of the beach infrastructure are intended only for hotel guests. You can’t rent them, so it’s better to bring everything you need with you. Among the available entertainments are diving, cycling tours, beach sports, horseback riding, rock climbing, rope descents, snorkelling and snorkelling. The main disadvantages of Railay West are the huge amount of resting and constant noise made by boat engines.

Railay East or East Railay
At the Tew Lay Bar
Tew lay bar

East Railay Beach in Thailand is significantly inferior in comfort, beauty and other important points. This place is absolutely not intended for a full beach holiday – a shallow dirty sea, a muddy bottom, dark brown sand very similar to pebbles, dense thickets of mango trees that literally protrude from the water at high tide, and a terrible quagmire that remains after. Basically, it serves as a pier for tourists sailing from neighboring villages and unloading freight boats. But it is here that there are many hotels, bungalows, cafes, bars, restaurants, night clubs, souvenir shops and other entertainment venues (including the Muay Thai school of Thai fighting). The most famous of them, Tew Lay Bar, is a secluded place, chairs and tables in which are replaced by sun loungers, poufs and hammocks.

Concrete embankment along Railay East

A concrete embankment stretches along the entire Railay East coastline. A little further begins the path leading to Tonsai Bay and the Diamond Cave. Fans of outdoor activities expect climbing and risky mountain climbing. A half-day training course for beginners costs about 800 TNV. The one-day program, which includes trekking through caves and visiting the best cliffs of Krabi, will cost 1700 TNV.

Advice! If you want to get an upscale vacation at an affordable price, check out Railay East, but sunbathe and swim, go to Railay West – it’s 8-10 minutes.

Tonsai or Ton Sai Beach
Climbing with an instructor

Ton Sai Beach, located at the base of the peninsula and separated from Railay West by the picturesque 200th cliff, can be called the most youthful beach of Railay Krabi. The main feature of this secluded place is the abundance of budget bamboo huts (guesthouses) accessible to ordinary tourists. True, there are several expensive and modern hotels on Ton Sai Beach. But with attractions and entertainment here is a little taut. Accessible leisure activities include visiting coffee shops, climbing (with or without an instructor), and performing tricks on the slackline.

Tonsai Beach Photo

As for the coastline, it, however, like the sea, is completely dotted with stones. Also, every lunar month there is shallow water – it lasts 10 days. You can get to Tonsai Beach not only by boat, but also on foot. There are 2 land paths for this. One of them passes through a difficult, but quite surmountable barrier made of stones. The second bypasses the rocky section, but several times longer.

Phra Nang (Phranang Cave Beach)

Pranang Cave Beach, considered the most beautiful Railay beach in Thailand, is located in the southwestern part of Krabi. Wonderful panoramas and monumental cliffs hanging directly above the water’s edge bring him world fame. The most famous of them is the 150th Thaiwand Wall, which runs between Railay West and Phranang Beach.

Pranang Cave Beach

Phra Nang – a paradise for climbers. Having rented special equipment, you can go to conquer the peaks both independently and with a professional instructor. There is also a coral reef, which is great for snorkeling, and a kayak rental point (600 baht in 4 hours). Those who prefer a more relaxing vacation, expect white sand, turquoise water and a sand spit formed during low tides. On it you can wade to the rocky islands.

Princess Cave Cave dedicated to the goddess Mae Nang
Princess cave

In addition, there is a curious Princess Cave cave dedicated to the goddess Mae Nang on Phra Nang Beach. Not only tourists, but also local residents come here, donating phalluses of different sizes, shapes, shades and textures. Of course, it will be difficult for an uninitiated person to resist laughing, but you will have to try – the grotto is called sacred. It is believed that these offerings will help childless couples conceive a child faster.

The role of cafes is performed by boats

As for the beach infrastructure, it leaves much to be desired. There are no hotels, no shops, or even cafes. The role of the latter is performed by boats selling food supplies. The toilet is paid, located near the entrance to the beach. Due to the large influx of tourists, you can safely swim here only in the early morning or after sunset.

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Phranag Nai Cave (Dimond Cave)

Phranag Nai Cave

The Railay Peninsula in Krabi has a large number of different underground passages and grottoes. Among the most popular include the Diamond Cave or Dimond Cave, located in the northern part of East Beach. Its length is 185 m, the height of the arches reaches 25 m. Inside there is electricity and flooring with railings and protective fences. The place is really very beautiful – inside it is decorated with bizarre ledges and multi-colored stalactites resembling frames from the movie “Avatar”. The picture is complemented by numerous bat colonies, accustomed to frequent guests. The price of an adult ticket for admission to Dimond Cave is 200 baht, children – 2 times cheaper.

Observation Decks

Want a bird’s eye view of Railay Peninsula in Thailand? In this business, 2 observation platforms will help you. The first is between Railay West and Phranang Cave Beach. The second is between Phranang Cave Beach and Railay East. The view from both is simply chic, and the climb does not present any special problems. True, you will have to sweat, because the path to the playgrounds goes straight up, and the red clay under your feet can stain both shoes and clothes. But, believe me, your efforts will pay off in full, because from the observation platforms a wonderful panorama opens immediately to 3 beaches and the territory of an expensive five-star hotel.

Panorama immediately to 3 beaches

Descent descent deserves no less attention, requiring good physical preparation and some skill. Knowledgeable people argue that when visiting viewing platforms you need to have only a minimum of things with you – a backpack with water and an ordinary “soap box”. The rest will interfere. There are other observation points on the peninsula, but they are accessible only to experienced climbers. The average height of such rocks is about 200 m. Most of them are plotted on special maps.

Railay Beach Krabi in Thailand is a great place where you can relax from the noisy resorts and be alone with nature. See for yourself – come soon!

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